Uehara: Institutions to strengthen citizens’ confidence

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The obligation of institutions, especially those involved in the fight against corruption and crime, is to strengthen citizens ‘confidence in their work and to inform them, said US Ambassador to Montenegro, Margaret Uehara, speaking at the conference „Openness of the Prosecutor’s Office – Secrecy of proceedings and the public’s right to know“.

She added communication builds trust between citizens and institutions, and that US is Montenegro’s partner in reforms regarding rule of law and integration processes.

Chief State Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic said that the supreme state prosecuto’s office (SSP) made important steps to improve cooperation with the media, referring to the recently adopted Communication Strategy.

“In the making of this document, we also recognized threats such as unfounded attack of the media on the work of the prosecutor’s office, publishing of unverified information, leaking of investigation information, the faults in independence and credibility of prosecutors, misinterpretation, and the fact that there was no strategic approach to solving this problem”, he said.

According to Stankovic, the space between the secrecy of proceedings and the public’s right to know is where communication between the prosecution and the media takes place:

“These principles are limiting one another and guarantees of a balanced relationship between the prosecution and the media”, he said.

Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission in Montenegro, Dan Redford, said that there must be a balance between ensuring transparency and the need to preserve the integrity of the investigation and the privacy of those who are the subject of investigations.

“The public and the media can be excluded only when there is justification for that”, said Redford, adding that the media also have a duty to protect transparency by responsibly reporting on crime.

The Executive Director of CDT, Dragan Koprivica, said CDT and the SSP have a common goal to improve the integrity of the institution of the State Prosecutor’s Office, and to increase citizens’ confidence in the institution.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro